Jul. 24—When Laura and John Cardwell purchased Brookstone Office Suites on West Alto Road last year, the plan wasn't to eventually become owners of a wedding and event center.
But after one of the tenants of the complex, a bingo group, notified them that they would not be renewing their lease for the 6,000 square foot space, the idea seemed like a good one.
"We had no dreams or ideas of ever owning a wedding venue, but the space just made sense for that, and it's a great location," Laura Cardwell said.
The Venue at Brookstone, located at 1201 W. Alto Road, opened in May and is one of Kokomo's newest wedding and private or corporate event centers.
The Cardwells are also owners of Cardwell Built Construction, which specializes in new home construction and remodeling. The old bingo hall badly needed a renovation.
And over the last year, that's what it got.
The old bingo hall — old carpet and all — was removed and the space was completely gutted and turned into a sleek and modern wedding and event hall, complete with a full bar, a bridal suite and an outdoor patio. Capacity is around 250 people.
The outdoor patio is one of the aspects Laura Cardwell believes makes The Venue unique, allowing wedding guests to take a breather and get some fresh air after dancing.
The property also boasts a large greenspace in the back, giving future brides and grooms an option on whether or not they want to have an indoor or outdoor wedding. Customers are also able to pick their own caterer and DJ or can choose one of the companies The Venue partners with.
On Sundays, the business offers a "Sunday Showers" package for smaller sized events, such as a baby shower, engagement party or a brunch with friends.
From 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in August, the Venue will be holding free tours for anyone interested in seeing the space.
Since opening in May, the new business has seen two tours a week and has booked its first wedding for September.
"It's been an interesting journey because we've really had to dive in and learn a whole new industry," Laura Cardwell said. "What do your packages look like? All those things, but that's been kind of fun because it is something new and something we're not used to."
Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.